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Prague sniper: What we know so far about gunman who shot 15 dead from rooftop
21 December 2023, 18:41 | Updated: 21 December 2023, 20:31
The gunman who opened fire on crowds from a Prague university building - killing at least 15 people - murdered his father before carrying out the rooftop massacre, investigating officers have revealed.
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The 24-year-old, named locally as David Kozak, who was a student at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague where he carried out his devastating attack, was swiftly "eliminated" by police.
The student left people cowering inside classrooms and scrambling for safety on a building ledge as his gunshots rang out over the historic Jan Palach Square in the city's Old Town.
Prior to the mass attack, the young man's father was found dead in a small village 13 miles out of Prague. The murders were not initially thought to be connected before police discovered the relationship.
A police spokesperson said: "The police received information at 12:45 p.m. that a 24-year-old man was supposed to leave the village of Hostouň for Prague, saying that he wanted to take his own life.
"A dead man was found in the village from which he left, he was the attacker's father," said the police president, adding that it was a premeditated act."
It has also been revealed that the shooter kept a diary on the encrypted messaging app Telegram where he said he had dreamt of committing a "school shooting and possibly suicide".
BREAKING: University of Prague shooter David Kozak kept a diary on Telegram (in Russian). He dreamt of committing mass murder. I’m making a 🧵with his posts I’ve translated from Russian:— Olia (@oliaklein) December 21, 2023
“Let me introduce myself. My name is David.
I want to do a school shooting and possibly…
In one alleged message, which was written in Russian, the shooter wrote: "I want to do a school shooting and possibly suicide. Alina Afanaskina helped me so much."
The alleged message is said to refer to Alina Afanaskina, a 14-year-old student, who is accused of killing two students and injuring five others in an attack in Bryansk, western Russia, on December 7.
The post continued: "I always wanted to kill, I thought I would become a maniac in the future. Then, when Ilnaz did the shooting, I realized that it was much more profitable to do mass rather than serial murders. I sat.. Waited.. Dreamed.. Wanted.. But Alina became the last straw. It was as if she had come to my aid from heaven just in time."
Giving a press conference this evening, police said the gunman legally owned several weapons, and stressed "nothing wrong with his past was found".
Vít Rakušan, the interior minister for Czechia - the now preferred name of the Czech Republic - said there was no indication that the gunman had been radicalised by "international terrorism" before carrying out the attack.
However, the police president investigating the incident said the shooter had been "inspired" by similar mass attacks abroad.
Police said they found and recovered the gunman's "lifeless body" from the university campus.
Czechia's interior minister said police were still investigating whether the gunman first turned the gun on himself before he was "eliminated" by police.